Nebula Capsule 3 Laser Review by Mighty Gadget

Any links to online stores should be assumed to be affiliates. The company or PR agency provides all or most review samples. They have no control over my content, and I provide my honest opinion.

The Nebula Capsule II was one of my first portable projector reviews back in 2020, and I thought it was superb back then. Technology has improved a lot since then, and there seems to be a lot more competition.

In the past year, I have reviewed many excellent portable projectors, including:

Specification

Nebula Capsule 3 LaserXGIMI Halo+BenQ GS50Samsung Freestyle
Price£799 RRP
£700 at time of writing
£749 RRP
£705 at time of writing
£729 RRP£699 RRP
£450-500 normally
Resolution1920×10801920 × 1080 pixels1920 × 1080 pixels1920 × 1080 pixels
Brightness300 ISO Lumens
375 ANSI lumen
900 ANSI lumen500 ANSI lumen500 ANSI lumen
DMD0.23” DMD0.33” DMD0.23” DMD0.23” DMD
KeystoneAuto (vertical ±40°), Auto (horizontal ±40°)Auto ID + 4 cornerAuto ID + 4 cornerAuto ID
Speaker8W5W*2
Harman Kardon
5W*2 + 10W
2.1 ch treVolo
5W
Apps StoreAndroid 11ATV 10ATV 9.0Own Web TV / Tizen OS
SVOD ContentsNetflix(Non-TV)
Apps Manager
Netflix(Non-TV)Netflix(Non-TV)
Apps Manager
Netflix
Samsung TV integrate
Key I/OHDMI
USB
Aux
HDMI with eArc
DC power
USB x 1
2 x HDMI 2.0
Arc 2 channel
USB type-C
USB Type-A
HDMI 1.4 with eArc
USB type-C
WiFi 5
Battery/PB2.5 hrs2.5 hrs18,000 mAH, 3 hrsNone
Portabilitycarry handleN/ACarry Bag,
Leather Handles
Carry Case
Unique FeaturesHigh capacity batteryIPX2, drop prove180 degrees cradle stand

Design / Features

Nebula Capsule 3 Laser Review Rear of projector with ports

I was sent the new Transformers special edition model. The only difference is the Transformers artwork used on the Capsule.

The Transformers artwork looks good, but I am not sure I’d pay any extra for it.

If portability is important, this is one of the best projectors I have reviewed. It has a nice compact design and has USB-C for its power. In comparison, the BenQ GV30 had a base plate you needed to remember to take with you, the BenQ GS50 is very large for a portable projector, and the XGIMI Halo+ required DC power.

The shell of the projector is metal and feels like it is quite durable, but there is no carry case and nothing to protect the glass where the lens is. So will want to use some caution if travelling with this.

For ports, there is just an HDMI port, which appears to support ARC, a USB-C port for power and an aux port, allowing you to plug in a speaker.

Android / Set Up

Similar to my recent projector reviews, this runs Android for the OS, and this is Android 11.0, whereas the other projectors were running an older version.

Thanks to Android, the set-up is incredibly simple if you have an Android phone and the Google app, you just ask Google to set up a new device, and it will then pass over your credentials.

Once the initial set-up was done, I had to update the software on the projector and the firmware on the remote.

Anker doesn’t state the specific chipset used inside this, but it is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A55 CPU with a G52MP2 GPU, and then it has 2GB DDR and 16 GB eMMC. This should be a more powerful chipset than you find in competing products and other streaming devices. It’s better than the Amlogic S905Y2 BenQ GS50 or the MediaTek MT8696 in the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

I have noticed some people criticise the responsiveness of the UI. I wouldn’t say I had too much of a problem with it, it is not as responsive as my Shield Pro, but it doesn’t seem that much worse than other projectors or affordable streaming devices.

Netflix / Disney / Amazon Prime Video

Like the other projectors, the main issue you have with this is that Netflix is not installed by default or available on Google Play. They don’t like projectors for some reason.

Anker makes this as easy as possible to install. There is a dedicated app that has the instructions to install it. All you need to do is press OK a few times and toggle the permissions to sideload the APK.

With Netflix installed, the interface is a bit clunky as it uses a mouse curser which you control via the direction keys. If that is too frustrating, you can use the Nebula Connect app from your mobile, which will allow easier navigation.

Disney and Amazon Prime Video are available natively via Google Play.

I played content from all these streaming services, as well as Plex and I had no problems with getting anything to play, buffering or any usability issues (except the clunky Netflix controls using the remote).

Personally, I prefer to bypass the built-in software of all these projectors and plug in an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It is a superior solution and supports all the apps you want at 4K (or 1080P for the case of these projectors). Sadly, there is no USB-A port to power the Fire Stick, so you’d have to use a separate USB plug.

Image Quality

Nebula Capsule 3 Laser Review Feature 2

Another minor complaint that other people seem to have made about this projector is that the automatic keystone correction and autofocus isn’t perfect and are not as good as the XGIMI.

I personally didn’t experience this. I thought the autofocus and keystone correction worked perfectly every time I used the projector. If anything, I thought the keystone correction worked a bit better than the XGIMI.

Anker Nebula list this as having 300 ISO Lumens, which works out at about 375 ANSI lumens, which is a bit on the low side when you look at competing options. The Samsung Freestyle and the BenQ GS50 both have 500 ANSI lumen, and the XGIMI Halo+ is 900 ANSI lumen.

Nebula Capsule 3 Laser Review Image Quality and Brightness Dark Room
Brightness and image quality in a dark room

You should also factor in the display technology; the Nebula has a 0.23” DMD (Digital micromirror device), which is a bit like the sensor size on a camera. The BenQ GS50 has the same-sized DMD, but the XGIMI Halo+ has a larger 0.33” DMD. Using a 0.23” DMD, the actual native resolution is only 960 x 540, so the Full-HD image is delivered by shifting these pixels around four times per frame, attempting to deliver 1920 x 1080. With 0.33” DMD, the native resolution is 1280 x 720.

As far as brightness goes, and therefore the ability to work in brighter environments, the Nebula Capsule 3 subjectively performs around the same as the BenQ GS50. As you’d expect, the XGIMI Halo+ is definitely brighter and will give you more flexibility when it comes to ambient lighting. While the spec indicates 2.4x the brightness, in real-world usage, it doesn’t feel like such a significant difference. Also, when I dialled up the power/brightness of the XGIMI, there was a considerable impact on the colour profile.

In darker environments, there is not much difference between the three.

As for image quality, I was happy with the performance of the Capsule 3. When I sat on my chair watching movies projected on the wall across the room, I couldn’t really tell that much difference between the three projectors. Moving closer to the image, the Nebula does seem to have a bit more graininess compared to the XGIMI, but I can only really tell up close. My wall is also off-white and has a grainy texture, so this doesn’t help with image quality in general.

Overall, I’d say the Nebula Capsule 3 is about the same as the BenQ GS50, but not quite as good as the XGIMI Halo+ for both image quality and brightness.

Sound Quality / Bluetooth Speaker

Nebula list this as having an 8W Dolby Digital speaker, which is a less impressive spec than the 2x 5W Harman Kardon speakers on the XGIMI Halo+. One of the reasons the BenQ GS50 is so large is that it has a 2x5W + 10W subwoofer 2.1 channel set-up, so it is safe to say the Nebula Capsule 3 doesn’t compete with this projector for sound.

However, I think it sounds good enough, considering the specification. Subjectively, I can’t really tell the difference between the sound quality of this and the XGIMI Halo+, even if the XGIMI is technically better.

I think the speaker is good enough to use when you are travelling, but when using it at home, I’d personally pair it up with a more powerful portable speaker or even use the HDMI ARC.

It is possible to switch this to Bluetooth speaker mode, which isn’t the same as connecting an external Bluetooth speaker. This just switches most of the functions off and allows you to use it as a Bluetooth speaker. It works perfectly well if that’s your best option for a speaker, but at the end of the day, it is just 8W which is a bit underpowered for a speaker.  

Fan Noise

All projectors have fan noise, and I hate fan noise. However, portable projectors seem to have a tolerable level of noise from what I have experienced. From the portable projectors I have used, the Nebula Capsule 3 is better than average, I’d say it is roughly the same as the XGIMI, which is better than either the BenQ GV30 or the BenQ GS50.

With all the options, the fan noise is quiet enough that once you start playing content at a moderate volume, the fan noise is easily drowned out, which is not always the case with the cheap full-sized projectors you can get.

Battery

The battery inside this has a 52Wh capacity, and the official rating is for 2.5 hours while watching a video.

Battery life will be impacted by your brightness and volume settings, and I found that with the settings I had it on, I got closer to 2 hours.

Unlike the XGIMI Halo+, this charges via USB-C power delivery. So if you are not close to a plug socket, you can always extend the playtime using a PD power bank. The Anker 737 power bank would be a perfect pairing for this; it has up to 140W power delivery output, and the capacity is 86.4 Wh which should increase the playtime by over 150% and therefore make it usable for the longest of movies and most sporting events.

Price and Alternative Options

The Anker Capsule 3 Laser Transformers Special Edition is available directly from seenebula.com for £899.99. At the time of writing, there was a £120 off voucher. It is also available on Amazon for around £780.

The normal Nebula Capsule 3 has the same RRP but is reduced to £699.99 on Amazon and has been as low as £680.

There is also the Nebula Solar Portable, it is a few years old now and therefore uses an older version of Android, but it is 1080P with a 0.23” DMD, 400 ANSI lumens and HDR10. It then has a 3-hour play time and USB-C input. Pricing jumps around, but it should be much cheaper; the price is regularly as low as £449.99.

The XGIMI Halo+ is likely the best alternative, it is £749, and at the time of writing, there was a £45 off voucher.

XGIMI also has the MoGo 2 Pro, which is 1080P, 400 ISO lumens and uses Android TV 11.0. It has a smaller 0.23” DMD vs 0.33” DMD of the Halo+, and it lacks a battery but supports power banks and only costs £529.

The BenQ GS50 is worth considering. This is £729.00 if you buy from Benq (either directly or through their Amazon Marketplace listing). It is a much bigger projector but with superior audio.

Overall

The Nebula Capsule 3 is an excellent portable projector that I am happy to recommend. It excels at the portable part of the projector and is perfect for anyone who travels a lot and still wants to watch content on a large screen.

However, it is not necessarily the best projector. It depends on your specific requirements:

The XGIMI Halo+ is probably going to be a better option if you plan to use the projector primarily at home, it is brighter, and the image quality is slightly better. It is quite annoying that this only has a DC power port; it really makes it lose appeal for some users.

The Nebula Capsule 3 is superior for portability. It is a bit more compact, but more importantly, it charges via a 45W PD USB-C port, allowing you to significantly extend the battery life.

The BenQ GS50 deserves some credit due to the excellent audio quality; I didn’t feel the need to pair this up with an external speaker. It is also more durable than the other two projectors and has a convenient carry case.

Originally posted on mightygadget.co.uk – Follow on TwitterInstagramFacebookMighty Gadget Latest Reviews

Anker Nebula Capsule 3 Laser Portable Projector Review Rating

Summary

The Nebula Capsule 3 is an excellent portable projector that I am happy to recommend. It excels at the portable part of the projector and is perfect for anyone who travels a lot and still wants to watch content on a large screen.

Overall
85%
85%
  • Overall - 85%
    85%

Pros

  • Smaller and more portable than competing options
  • USB-C power delivery allowing you to use a power bank

Cons

  • Not as bright as competing options

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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